Had a great time at the BBQ, they had bought some new white gazebo’s (?) anyway, tent like stuructures to sit in when it rained, BUT IT DIDN’T!!!

The sun shone for most of the afternoon and we sat in the tent in grave danger of snow blindness because they were so very, very white.

Bob’s task for today with the camera was to take all of the photos with the camera set to manual. That should cause a bit of brain strain!!

As you can see from the following pictures, he didn’t do badly at all.

Harry’s “I’m having my photo taken” face.

David & Brian worked very hard to keep us all fed.
We took Olivia and Danielle, who had a great time playing bat the rat, throwing wet sponges at whoever was in the stocks. Danielle won the horse race (no pics of that – not real horses ), Olivia won the raffle and Carla won some chocolates – everybody happy.

Carla was starving so I went in to get her a bread roll BEFORE it was announced we could eat…………..shock horror!!! It took about 3 seconds before someone challenged me. Sad but true and so funny. This was me plucking up courage to go in and steal food.

“Well, I can see my food, I wonder what everyone else is having?”

I’m not saying that Carla was hungry but she managed to break her spoon.

Bob ended up getting soaked when he joined in with the kids manning the stocks and all hell broke loose, there was water everywhere!! At that point I made myself scarce.

summer bbq

It is our our lodge summer bbq today , and as is traditional – it’s raining! All the hens started to squawk when it started but didn’t have the sense to get under some shelter, they are soooo thick!
Spent all of yesterday riding round the Fylde coast teaching Bob the finer points of camera controls. He was taking pictures of a lifeboat as it was being cleaned and he ended up getting soaked. I didn’t laugh (much).
We had a play with the relationship between shutter speed and aperture,


As well as a look at contra jour light

Spent a lot of today at what will be my new studio. It used to be a garage and they obviously used to do a lot of resprays. It is very dirty and in need of a lot of work but it will be fab.
Todays task was to get the paint/grease/grime of the wooden steps so I got on my rubber gloves and started scrubbing with heavy duty swarfega.

What a difference!!

Still not good enough to be able to varnish , which would be my preferred option, but I can get them painted and they are going to look loads better. The walls are almost painted now and it’s beginning to take shape. I’ll post pics of the progress next week.

Well, it’s been another busy, busy day at Cranberry Bottoms, the work never ends. Yawn.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to get some more hens. They came froma local farmer who has, lets put this delicately, an over, ahem, enthusiastic cockerel. The poor girls were almost bald. Hope their feathers grow back soon, they look like they are oven ready!.

Went out with my friend Jill, yesterday and she also keeps hens. She advised me to cook all the vegetable peelings and give them to the hens. So I did, they had a lovely concotion of potato, cauli, and apple all cooked together. Don’t fancy it myself but the hens loved it!

One of them had gone for a stroll and ended up behind a bit of netting, the poor thing was horrified when she realised she was missing out on food. She kept trying to get back but couldn’t work out how in her panic, eventually she decided to try and get through the fence. Nope. That didn’t work either. I decided to comfort her with a nice slug salad.
I have been out with my compact camera. I’m ashamed to say it as a professional photographer but I find it really difficult to use. Give me an SLR anytime, too many menus on these compact jobs.
I took this picture from our garden across to Darwen tower, a local landmark built to commemorate 60 years of Queen Victoria’s reign (it’s that tiny, tiny speck on top of the hill). It’s a great walk to it and the views from the top are amazing, you can see all the way to the coast. Darned windy though.

I’m back

Hi I’m back, did you miss me?

Now that the degree course is over ( I got a very respectable mark, thank you) and the exhibition has been taken down, and I have got over the culture shock of constantly working at 5oo kiles an hour to zero (almost) I have decided that I quite like the idea of keeping a blog. I also thought it would give me a reason to go out and take photos to post. Apart from work I have hardly lifted a camera since the course ended and that will never do. I think I will start with my new hens. Well, they are meant to be hens but I think one of them isn’t, small clues like the fact I have never had more than 5 eggs out of 6 ‘hens’ and one of them is bigger, behaves differently and has slightly different markings and oh yes, the fact that some of the eggs are fertilised. Hhmmm clever trick for hens, that.

It all seemed a bit egotistical to me to think that anyone would want to read about the mundane everyday things that go on in ones life but I have really enjoyed browsing through other people’s blogs so I changed my mind, and as my friend Irene says, “the only preson who can’t change their mind is someone who hasn’t got one”. ( You have to imagine a STRONG Lancashire accent and, fag (cigarette, to you Americans!!) and hands on hips).

So here it is. As I write I am waiting for a couple to turn up who are getting maried in two weeks, Bob and I are shooting their wedding and they want to go through a few last minute changes of plan, I think they are started to get the last minute collywobbles and need to reassure themsleves everythinf is in order. Aaaah, bless. I remember being like that almost 23 years ago now. And it don’t (always) seem like a day too long!

Last minute tasks

It seems like as you get to the end of a project there are a million little jobs to do.

I got my frames all ready for the photographs, nice silver frames with a bit of texture to them. One of them got scratched and I couldn’t replace it so I ended up changing the whole set. Now they are in very nice black frames. The pictures are all hung in the room ready for assessment and the exhibition next week.

The artists statement is written up and framed, all of the quotes to go alongside the images have been printed and laminated, the written journal has been tidied up and a project rationale included in it.

It all sounds very straightforward, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.

Now I am looking for jobs to do, bet I find loads.

Nick Knight

Found this today while I was having a little browse. I stated that Nick Knight was one of my influences for this brief and hey ho, up turns a video by him. It is Bjorks ‘Pagan Poetry’ video. It kind of reminded me a bit of my imbolc (winter) shoot when I saw it. That was until I found out a bit more and actually while there are similarities mine stops waaaay short of his interpretation.

Apparently it is about a woman preparing herself for her marriage and for her lover. The link here shows only a short extract from the video, I don’t think the rest is suitable for a family aduience! See what it says about it on Wikipedia.

editing summer

This is the orginal of the image I used for Litha (summer).
The editing process on this was really simple. First I increased the stauration on the blues and the reds to bring out the colour in the sky and outfit more.
I took off her watch, which I hadn’t noticed until halfway through the shoot. There was a bit of pouffy fabric and white skirt poking out at the back so I removed that and also the grass on the left of the image. I used the skin softening process I learned recently on her arms and face, and also on the dress.
Again I had to add the candle flame separately, I tried to use the same flame as before but that was shot against a green background and looked odd on here so I reshot it against the pink fabric of the outfit in the picture. I was really surprised how much of a difference it made.
I used the shadow/highlight filter to lift the shadows and tweaked the curve a bit.
Finally I added a teeny amount of gaussian blur and on a new layer and used the soft light filter, reducing the opacity of the layer to 50% as it looked a bit too strong. Cropped to 16×20, That’s it.
I printed it onto proofing paper to check the result before going for the final print.

last minute substitution

I finished fretting about the spring picture and got that to a point where I was happy with it – and then I started to fret about the summer one!  It was on of those situations where it was ok – but it could be better.  My son introduced me to a new model, another Charlotte, beautiful girl and EXACTLY what I had in mind when I set out on the project. Charlotte was free the following morning – the sun was set to shine and we set off into the woods again with the mirror and flowers. 

There was only the two of us and I really could have done with another person to hold the reflector, so I had to improvise. I took the tripod along and attached the reflector to it, which was ok till the wind started to blow!  I used a bit of fill in flash as well.
Charlotte was a great model and took on board what I asked her to do. The shoot was over in about 20 minutes, probably a good thing as I must be in severe danger of going blind by now.

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